Sunday, December 19, 2010

Len in call for action

The General Secretary of UNITE has some things for us to think about over the coming holiday period (http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/19/unions-students-strike-fight-cuts?cat=commentisfree&type=article).

What does Len say?

He says the students have set a challenge to the trade union movement to take action to defend our welfare state.

We must rebuild working class confidence.

We must not let the law paralyse us.

We must reject all cuts ("'What do we want? Fewer cuts later on', is not a slogan to set the blood coursing.")

And - worth quoting at length - an interesting take on how we deal with Labour Councils;

"These are Con-Dem cuts, and this is a capitalist crisis. An attempt to blame Labour local authorities for the problem is a shortcut to splitting our movement and letting the government off the hook. That doesn't mean Labour councils should get off free. There are, alas, Labour councillors embarking on union-bashing under cover of cuts, something we won't tolerate. Labour needs to understand that any social alternative to the present misery needs strong trade unions."

This is a positive and refreshing intervention from the General Secretary of a large trade union, including explicit support for the Coalition of Resistance (which - I suggest - settles the argument as to whether CoR, or Right to Work, or even the National Shop Stewards Network will be the key vehicle for coordinating struggle).

I could (and probably will) quibble that the trade unions may need to trespass further over into the "political wing" of the movement and say more to Labour Councils than that they ought not bash unions. As left as this sounds it is left Labourism and potentially hamstrung as ever by the divide between "political" and "industrial" wings.

However, for now, it's the season of goodwill and this welcome intervention deserves a hearty welcome.

Since UNISON has made the running in making the arguments upon which the General Secretary of UNITE now relies, I wait with interest for a similarly forthright intervention from Mabledon Place.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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